The pastor of a church in San Antonio, Texas, has apologised after a video of his congregants chanting “Let’s go Brandon” — a slogan intended to insult US president Joe Biden — went viral on social media.
The slogan is a euphemism for “F*** Joe Biden” in conservative circles that sprung from a misheard chant at a NASCAR race in October.
Videos from the “ReAwaken America” event at the Cornerstone Church in San Antonio earlier this month showed people chanting the slogan, and cheering and clapping along as someone from the state led the audience. Donald Trump ally Michael Flynn was one of the key speakers at the event.
Executive pastor Matt Hagee distanced himself from the far-right activists at the event. “Regrettably, the organisation was not properly vetted. The Church is not associated with this organisation and does not endorse their views,” he said.
Pastor Hagee said that he was invited to the ReAwaken America event to welcome the crowd. “I was invited to welcome the crowd where I thanked veterans for their service and thanked the crowd for their commitment to their faith,” he said. “I deeply regret, and ask forgiveness, for what took place in the Cornerstone sanctuary as a result of my oversight.”
He added that the Cornerstone Church will in future ensure that “organisations using our facility are an appropriate reflection of our mission and vision”.
Besides Mr Flynn, a former national security adviser, several conservatives attended the event between 11 November and 13 November. Roger Stone, MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell and Texas attorney general Ken Paxton were among the attendees.
The meme began in October, when a crowd at a NASCAR event was chanting “F*** Joe Biden”, which a sports journalist misheard as, “Let’s go Brandon”, believing the fans to be cheering for driver Brandon Brown, who had just won the race at Talladega Superspeedway.
Since then, the phrase has appeared in Donald Trump fundraising giveaways, on the mask of congressman Jeff Duncan of South Carolina, and reportedly over the PA system on a Southwest Airlines flight, prompting an investigation.
Several other Republicans have used this phrase to humiliate Joe Biden. Mitch McConnell’s press secretary also retweeted a photo of the phrase on a construction sign in Virginia.
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